Monday, November 30, 2009

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Day Three

Misery loves company. It must be true because I had lots of company today. The pit was positively alive with bodies in various stages of self abuse. I was hoping for at least one prime male specimen to focus my attentions on in order to offset the pain factor. Alas, the place was full of women of all shapes, sizes and years. The few men in attendance were mostly C +20’s, with a few C’s thrown in here and there. Now you ask, “What are you talking about?” Let me explain. In the interest of clarity I have decided on a sort of abbreviation system in regards to age. By definition a contemporary is someone at or near my age, a C if you will. A C+20 would be my age, plus about 20 years. A C-20 would be approximately twenty years younger.

So, you ask, “How old is a C+20?” Daughter #1 would be a C-27. This is one of those word problems we all hated in school and wondered why we had to do. Now you know it was in preparation for this very day, when you would have to decipher my cryptic system designed to mask my age. Now, anyone out there who is a C+20 or more should get out the abacus, C’s should use their slide rule, and C-15’s or more will probably use something like a TI 89 Titanium to figure this out. Are we clear on this? Good, let’s continue then.

Where was I? Oh yes, my fellow travelers on the road to hell. It’s Monday morning. The breadwinners of the valley are tucked away in their offices making a living. That leaves the C+20’s, the C-20 trophy wives and the C-25 stay at home moms. Daughter # 1 and I survey the pit. She spies one unoccupied treadmill and heads in that direction. Notice, after two days she deems me either competent to be on my own, or she is eager to dissociate herself. Every other machine in the pit is in use or plastered with a bright yellow, out of order sign, except for the lounge chair cycles. I have several of these to choose from, so off I go. I select the one where I will have the best view in the giant rearview mirror.

The mirror provides my best source of entertainment. I am most intrigued by the C-25 on the elliptical next to Daughter #1’s treadmill. Let me clarify. This is the machine where all four limbs are moving in different directions at the same time, something like riding an irate bull. C-25 is talking on her cell phone! Somehow she manages to stay on the contraption and carry on a conversation at the same time. How does she do that? I concentrate on my own problems, namely kicking the resistance level up to 8 and trying to make it out of the driveway before I collapse. I’m cruising along trying to look as if my legs are still attached to my body when a C+30 takes over the bike next to me. I must have looked like I knew what I was doing as she catches my attention and asks me how to adjust the seat and turn the darn thing on. This is something I can do. My confidence bolstered, I check the rearview mirror and C-25 has switched her phone to the other ear and is still talking!

I contemplate the dexterity and lung capacity necessary to pull this off and try to avoid looking at the various C+’s occupying the treadmills in front of me. Lucky for me I am saved from tedium by a C-15 of the male variety. I’m sure you are familiar with the basketball game at the pizza place run by the giant rat. You know the one. You toss the ball into a basket and the ball returns to you and you do it all again, sort of like a combination of bowling and basketball. Well, it turns out they have these for grownups. C-15 grabs a ball, reclines on the bucket style seat, ball above his head. He does an impressive sit-up and tosses the ball into the basket, and so it goes. I forget all about my thighs burning. I forget I have thighs. This is a much better diversion than C-25 on her cell phone.

Ball-toss guy moves on to other things, so after twenty minutes on the bike I move on to a bigger challenge. Daughter #1 suggests still another variety of elliptical torture machine I have yet to try. On this one only your legs move and after about thirty seconds I have to stop. My thighs feel as if someone is ripping the muscles out with a hot knife. When my vision clears I survey the control panel. Inclination. Hmm. Up arrow. Down arrow. This thing is set on Rocky Mountain High and I’m more of a High Plains Drifter. Down, down, down, down, down. Once I’m out on the prairie life gets better. I can do this, especially with a tune with a good backbeat pounding in my ears. If I’m going to do much of this I’m going to have to revamp my playlist. The soundtrack to Pride and Prejudice just won’t cut it for this.

Amazingly enough I’m still feeling charitable toward Daughter #1 after twenty minutes of gliding along the Llano Estacado. Daughter #1 however has had her a** kicked by the foothills of the Sierra Madre and is on the verge of collapse. Youth. Always in a hurry.

Off to the locker room. Don’t get me started on this. I’ve opened a file named Etiquette. I’ll share it with you one of these days.

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